April 26, 2021

A Texas man was sentenced to 27 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy at the Merida Group, a chain of hospice and home health agencies throughout Texas, to falsely convince thousands of patients with long-term incurable diseases they had less than six months to live in order to enroll the patients in hospice programs for which they were otherwise unqualified, thereby increasing revenue to the company.

At the trial of co-defendants Rodney Mesquias and Henry McInnis, witnesses testified that from 2009 to 2018, the vast majority of hospice and home health patients at the Merida Group did not qualify for services. Rather, physicians were bribed with illegal kickbacks, under the pretense of medical directorships, to falsely certify unqualified patients for services. Employees were instructed to falsify medical records, making non-terminal patients appear to be terminally ill and declining. Garza admitted to participating in the scheme, facilitating kickback payments to physicians, and directing employees to falsify medical records.

Read the full press release.